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New Ink Has Huge Potential Upside for The Blind
April 29, 2016
In a story that has been widely reported around the web, a consortium of academics, an advertising agency, and Samsung Electronics, the group has made a huge discovery that has a chance to drastically improve life for those that are blind. According to The Recycler, the group has found a way to allow for Braille printing through a normal inkjet printer on standard paper which, if truly effective, could be a "a reliable substitute to the old coding system".
According to Satit Jantawiwat, CCO, J. Walter Thompson Bangkok, the new system will make possible the embossed printing of non-braile characters as well as other shapes and patterns. He states: "This will open up a new world to people with visual impairment and revolutionise their knowledge accessibility. Some of them were born blind and have never really known many things that may be common for people with normal vision, such as math symbols, musical notation symbols, and drawings or paintings. Touchable Ink gives them the key to unlock this door and enter a more resourceful world of tactile sensations, either to ease their everyday life or to broaden their accessibility to more fields of learning like music, mathematics and art, for example. "
Currently this new innovation is being tested at the Thailand Association of the Blind with equipment and R&D from Thai Samsung Electronics. The Department of Chemistry at Thammasat University and J. Walter Bangkok are actively pursuing the obtaining of a patent for this new type of printing."
Parattajariya Jalayanatega, Managing Director at J. Walter Thompson, stated, "The Touchable Ink project began from a study of visually-impaired people that led to better awareness of their needs. As a group of people who are part of our society, their needs are not different from people who can see. They want to live happily like people who have normal vision. They are proud to be self-reliant, being able to perform small and big tasks themselves and minimize their dependence on other people."
Dr. Nopparat Plucktaveesak, Head of the Dept. of Chemistry at Thammasat University concludes, "This Touchable Ink innovation was a source of much pride for the university. It is a Thai invention that, with continuing support and development further on, has the potential to benefit visually impaired people worldwide. It would enable the blind people to print from normal printer with price starts less than THB 2,000 ($/?57), instead of braille embosser which costs at least THB 100,000 ($/?2,537)."
This is certainly a laudable innovation and we wish those involved the best. If successful, it could have possibilities being used through Asia and eventually the rest of the globe as well. Stay tuned for further updates!